Our CEO’s Motivations
One of the questions that I am asked on a regular basis is “why do you do it” … what motivates you and why have you dedicated so much of our life to saving our planet one island at a time. The question is partly fuelled by wanting to know “what’s in it for me” and partly by a fascination about how we have seemingly materialised our vision out of thin air. I think some of it also comes from wanting to know how I keep going when we are so often we are beset by doubters, nimby’s and naysayers. On this page I set out the drivers and motivations for what I do in the hope that it may settle some minds about why I am in the sustainability game and why I am so determined to see a shift in the current paradigm:
1. Firstly I know more than most about what is coming down the tracks for us. I am aware that 30% of the coal and nuclear generation comes offline in 2015 ( they are even shutting Fawley power station down ) and the energy gap that will result. I have also seen the forecasts of energy bills doubling by 2020 and listened to the Energy Secretary telling me that we only have one choice – renewable energy or blackouts. Faced by this startling reality and the current increase in demand for energy of 10% a year and I think we can all see that the equation quite simply does not add up. I have made my home as sustainable as I can ( like the Ark when you see the rains coming ) and I want to do the same for the place where I live – the Isle of Wight.
2. I had my eyes opened when I first visited the Chale Community on the back of the Island. There were people living in one room, wearing 6 layers of clothing and going to bed at 8.00 o’clock at night because they couldn’t afford to heat the house. Some of them were on key meters and spending up to 50% of their disposable income on energy. There was real fuel poverty right here on the Island and at that point I decided to dedicate my time to reducing fuel poverty and improving the quality of life on the IOW.
3. My concerns are not restricted to energy as we now take 1/3 of our water from the mainland, we import 140,000 tons of food and have a transport system entirely dependent on fossil fuels. I want to change all of that – I want the Island to be more self sufficient in the building blocks of life so when the pressure comes on the worlds natural resources we will be better able to cope.
4. I believe that to shift the current paradigm we need to be able to demonstrate that the ECOnomy adds up as well if not better than the current one built around fossil fuels. As we all know much of the world is sadly still driven by money and if we want the pendulum to swing towards renewables we need to demonstrate the business case and show how it can be truly sustainable without government subsidy. We believe that the GREENprint is the first model of a pure green economy and many of the major corporations working with us support our view.
5. When we set the CIC up one of its objectives was to promote the learning’s on a wider scale to the rest of the Country and beyond. It is with this in mind that we have been giving lectures and presenting at conferences around the UK promoting our vision of sustainability and communicating that the rest of the world. It is my dream to be able to spread the “GREENprint” and our vision of life in harmony with nature to as many other communities as we can making full use of the communications channels at our disposal.
6. I am not motivated by money – a fact substantiated by my 20 years running a National Charity considerably under my market rate and the 4 years I spent promoting the Ecoisland vision without pay. More recently I have been pushing 80-hour weeks to get this off the ground, carrying many of the setup and legal costs and underpinning the CIC with my own funds when required.
7. I am excited about our relationship with our Global and National Partners because unlike some of my older eco-warrior friends I see the need to take the big corporations with us. You can be sure that this world’s future will include the big corporations who have managed to align themselves properly with Community values and needs. I believe that by engaging the big corporations we will magnify our message and become a change agent on a larger scale.
8. Unlike other eco-warriors I do not fear for our planet’s survival. I believe that Mother Earth’s protection mechanisms are perfectly capable of defending her integrity – the question is more about us. Unless we change our behaviours our place here could be unsustainable. On our Ecoislands we plan to lead the charge to take the lead in the introduction of a new scheme of things and demonstrate a way to restore the balance.
9. In essence, what drives me, is trying to get communities to live within their means. The ecological footprint required to support the current global population with our current lifestyle is about 1 ½ Earths – which is clearly unsustainable. We need to work alongside nature, deriving more of our energy from renewable sources and wean ourselves off our dependency on fossil fuels leaving a lighter footprint on the land.